Learn about 5 ways to create positive parent-teacher relationships that are important to implement into your teaching practice. It is crucial to have a positive relationship with our students and staff when becoming a teacher. They are not the only ones we have these relationships with.
When I stepped foot into the classroom for the first time, I quickly realized how important it was to keep a positive relationship with the parents and guardians of the students.
Parent Teacher Relationships
Get in Contact with Parents Before the Start of the School Year
If permitted, contact students’ families before the start of the school year. Sending a postcard addressed to the student or a quick phone call/email shows that you care.
Some schools do not permit students to have contact with their teachers ahead of the first day of school. That’s ok. Try and make those positive family connections during the first week of school. I know it is an exhausting time, but reaching out and showing you care is the best way to get started with meeting a new family.
For phone calls or emails, I try to make them brief and full of “sunshine”. My former principals used to call them sunshine calls. Try to keep these calls under 5 minutes unless the student has extensive needs and the parent will require more time. In that instance, I will email home and request to set up a formal meeting with you and the Special Education teacher.
- Introduce Yourself (Hi, my name is Ms. MacKenzie and I am Sally’s homeroom teacher. I just wanted to say “Hi” and introduce myself).
- Ask the family if they have any questions you can answer.
- End the call by letting them know how best to contact you and that you are excited to get to know their child.
The majority of my parents were happy that I did this. This is a major way to create positive parent-teacher relationships.
Communication is Key
As a classroom teacher, my students and their well-being were my number one priority at school.
Taking care of their social, emotional, and academic needs was essential. If something was bothering my student, disciplinary actions, or positive behaviour was happening, I would immediately inform the student’s parents.
Having communication expectations and procedures in place was helpful when I was teaching.
Teachers can use classroom communication tools like Email, Google Classroom, ClassDojo, Remind, or ClassTag to inform and communicate with parents over some of the following items:
- School events
- Learning topics/special projects for the upcoming week
- Positive actions
Do not use electronic communication to communicate with parents if it is a behaviour concern. These are best done on the phone or face to face – unless you have previously developed an electronic communication system with the parents about this issue.
It’s just as important to notify your parents about the positive actions that their child is performing in the classroom than just calling home when students have misbehaved. Parents love to receive different forms of positive communication.
Set Communication Boundaries
Keeping expectations is very important. Establish contact hours so that parents know you will only communicate with them during the school day. Let them know you do not check your school email during the evenings and weekends.
Do not add or remove your school apps from your personal phone. This will make setting and keeping these communication boundaries easier.
Teachers have families, friends, and other tasks outside of school. Setting these expectations of contact hours is very important to me, and most parents respect that.
Making parents feel valuable
Teachers can foster a positive relationship with parents by making them feel valued.
Parents are the experts on knowing their children when they come to school for the first time. Asking your parents questions about anything important will make them feel valued. Contacting parents throughout the school year will make them feel appreciated. It will also send the message to parents that the teacher cares about the child’s best interest.
When interacting with parents, do it in a calming, warm, and positive way. As teachers, we want to work with them as a team to ensure the best needs of our students. They will respond positively when they know that their child’s teacher has their best interest.
Parents want you to create positive parent-teacher relationships.
At the beginning of the school year, we receive new classroom lists as teachers. My mind would always wonder how their personalities would bloom during the school year. Coworkers of mine would always want to tell me about the “good kids and bad kids.” I always try to have the mentality that my students are always welcome. My students have a clean slate and a fresh start at the beginning of each year.
This is also important when building that relationship with parents and guardians. Never make assumptions about your students based on past revelations from former teachers. Please get to know the students and their families. Also, never make assumptions about a student’s family. Learn about the students and their families, cultures, backgrounds, and interests.
Trust is one of the most critical elements for building open communication with parents. Without trusting you, your parents are not going to listen to you. Without trust, parents won’t know if you have their child’s best academic or emotional needs at heart. They won’t follow your lead when you make suggestions to help improve their child’s success at school.
You’ll need to work hard on building up the way you communicate throughout the school year. Set expectations and choose how you are going to communicate each school year. Be open, positive, and willing to work as a team. Working as a team with parents will ensure that they can trust you, listen to you, and be more open to communicating throughout the school year.
I hope these 5 ways to create positive parent-teacher relationships have given you some good ideas on how best to communicate with the families in your school.
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